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George H.W. Bush received the 2008 Dole Leadership Prize for his long career in public service.
Continuing a family tradition of public service, Bush enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday. As a Navy pilot, Bush flew 58 combat missions during World War II.
After his military service, Bush worked privately in the oil industry in Texas before again turning to public service. He served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas. Bush was then appointed to a number of other political positions, including:
Bush served as Vice President of the United States under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. In 1988, Bush won the Presidential election and became America’s 41st President.
President Bush’s foreign policy background and military knowledge served him well. Faced with foreign policy challenges in the changing world landscape as the Cold War ended, Bush fought against world oppressors. He authorized troops to enter Panama and oust the corrupt General Manuel Noriega, who was threatening the safety of the canal and Panama’s American residents. He also won international support for Operation Desert Storm, which pushed Iraqi forces led by Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.